Botanical Name: Coleus amboinicus
Common names: Indian borage, country borage, Cuban oregano, French thyme, Indian mint, Mexican mint, soup mint, Spanish thyme.
Often confused for Ajwain, this is a semi-succulent perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae with a pungent oregano-like flavor and odor. It’s leaves are edible and make good pakoras when coated in batter and deep-fried.
: Indian borage is an annual plant in temperate climates, but grows as a perennial in Mumbai’s tropical climate. It can be sown and grown all year round.
: This plant is easily propagated from cuttings.
PLANTING OUT: Choose medium-composted, well-drained soil that could be alkaline, mildly acidic or neutral, as this plant will tolerate different soil types. It does however, produce the richest foliage in alkaline soils that are not too rich in organic matter. If you are using cuttings, choose sturdy, de-leafed stalks of freshly cut Indian borage, planting them a few inches into the soil. You can plant your cuttings in direct sunlight or partial shade, and spaced about 6 inches apart to allow room for growth. Indian borage will grow well on open plots or in containers.
NURTURING: Indian borage grows enthusiastically and requires very little nurturing besides watering and occasional pruning of dead leaves. It does not tend to get preyed on by insects or other pests. Do not over-water this plant, and let it enjoy good sunlight and water, and it will keep you in good company and fine seasoning for years to come.
HARVESTING: Harvest tender, newer leaves as the plant grows. Indian borage will grow speedily and you will soon have lots to share with friends and family. After a few years, or if your stems turn yellowed and old, you can take cuttings for a new crop and uproot the older plant, composting it, replenishing the soil and using that space for growing fruiting or rooting veggies next.
Indian borage plants at two months – more than I can eat!
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